Gerry Dean Zaragoza, 26, was arrested last week after leading police on an hourslong manhunt through the San Fernando Valley. Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Police Department Headquarters/Twitter
July 30 (UPI) -- A man charged with killing four people during a shooting spree last week in Los Angeles's San Fernando Valley has pleaded not guilty to a slew of murder and attempted murder charges.
Gerry Dean Zaragoza, 26, was charged Monday for allegedly killing his father, brother, an ex-girlfriend and a stranger aboard a bus during a 12-hour shooting spree last Thursday.
The shooting spree began after 1 a.m. when he allegedly shot and killed his 56-year-old father and 33-year-old brother at their home while also shooting his mother in the hand, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said in a statement.
Zaragoza then killed a former girlfriend and injured a second person in the attack at a gas station, the prosecution said. He then tried to rob a man at an ATM before allegedly killing a 55-year-old man on a bus.
Two officers with a joint LAPD-RBI task force spotted Zaragoza about midday and were able to restrain him with a stun gun, bringing the shooting spree to an end.
Zaragoza pleaded not guilty to four counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of attempted robbery shortly after the charges were filed against him Monday.
If found guilty, Zaragoza faces life behind bars without the possibility of parole or the death penalty, which he is eligible for due to a special circumstance allegation included in the criminal complaint, the attorney's office said.
In March, Gov. Gavin Newsom placed a moratorium on the state's death penalty, however, the multi-murder allegation allows the prosecution to ask the court for it, though it has not yet decided if it will seek death as punishment, the attorney's office said.